Joshua 19:26
And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath;
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Joshua 19:26. Carmel westward — Or, Carmel by the sea, to distinguish it from Carmel in the tribe of Judah. This was a place of eminent fruitfulness, agreeably to the prophecy concerning Asher, Genesis 49:20.

19:17-51 Joshua waited till all the tribes were settled, before he asked any provision for himself. He was content to be unfixed, till he saw them all placed, and herein is an example to all in public places, to prefer the common welfare before private advantage. Those who labour most to do good to others, seek an inheritance in the Canaan above: but it will be soon enough to enter thereon, when they have done all the service to their brethren of which they are capable. Nor can any thing more effectually assure them of their title to it, than endeavouring to bring others to desire, to seek, and to obtain it. Our Lord Jesus came and dwelt on earth, not in pomp but poverty, providing rest for man, yet himself not having where to lay his head; for Christ pleased not himself. Nor would he enter upon his inheritance, till by his obedience to death he secured the eternal inheritance for all his people; nor will he account his own glory completed, till every ransomed sinner is put in possession of his heavenly rest.Helkath, a Levitical town Joshua 21:31, is probably Yerka, a village about seven or eight miles north-west of Acre, in a Wady of the same name. Alammelech was in the "Wady Melik," which joins the Kishon from the northeast, not far from the sea.

Shihor-libnath - i. e. "black-white." The two words are now generally admitted to be the name of a river, probably the modern "Nahr Zerka," or Blue River, which reaches the sea about 8 miles south of Dor, and whose name has a correspondence both to black and white. Possibly we have in the occurrence of the term Shihor here a trace of the contact, which was close and continuous in ancient times, between Phoenicia and Egypt Joshua 13:3. Cabul Joshua 19:27 still retains its ancient name; it lies between four and five miles west of Jotapata and about ten miles southeast of Acre.

26. to Carmel … and to Shihor-libnath—that is, the "black" or "muddy river"; probably the Nahr Belka, below Dor (Tantoura); for that town belonged to Asher (Jos 17:10). Thence the boundary line turned eastward to Beth-dagon, a town at the junction of Zebulun and Naphtali, and ran northwards as far as Cabul, with other towns, among which is mentioned (Jos 19:28) "great Zidon," so called on account of its being even then the flourishing metropolis of the Phœnicians. Though included in the inheritance of Asher, this town was never possessed by them (Jud 1:31). Carmel westward, or, Carmel by the sea, to distinguish it from that Carmel in the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 25:2. This was a place of eminent fruitfulness, Isaiah 33:9 35:2 37:24, agreeable to the prophecy concerning Asher, Genesis 49:20 Deu 33:24.

And Alammelech, and Amad,.... Of the two first of these there is no mention elsewhere:

and Misheal is the same with Mashal, 1 Chronicles 6:74; and is by Jerom (l) called Masan, and said to be near Carmel to the sea:

and reacheth to Carmel westward; or, "to the sea", as Carmel is called "Carmel by the sea"; see Gill on Jeremiah 46:18, it is hereby distinguished from Carmel in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:55; (Pliny (m) calls it a promontory):

and to Shihorlibnath; the Vulgate Latin and Septuagint versions make two places of it: but the sum of the cities after given will not admit of it: more rightly Junius renders it Sihor by Libhath, and takes Sihor to be the river Belus, or Pagidus; so called either because of its likeness to the Nile, one of whose names is Sihor, Jeremiah 2:18; or because its waters might be black and muddy; it was the river out of which sand was fetched to make glass of: and Libnath, which has its name from whiteness, the same writer thinks may be the Album Promontorium, or white promontory of Pliny (n), which he places near Ptolemais, between Ecdippa and Tyre, and is very probable.

(l) De loc. Heb. fol. 93. E. (m) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19.) (n) Ibid.

And Alammelech, and Amad, and Misheal; and reacheth to Carmel westward, and to Shihorlibnath;
26. Alammelech, and Amad, are at present unknown. Misheal has been identified with Misalli at the northern extremity of the plain of Sharon.

and reacheth to Carmel] This boundary struck Carmel on the west and Shihor-libnath, somewhere to the south of that range.

Shihor-libnath] Not, as some have supposed, the Belus, which falls into the Mediterranean near to Acre or Ptolemais, but south of Carmel, and probably the Nahr Zerka, or “Crocodile Brook,” which rises in the Carmel range, and flows into the Mediterranean just above Cæsarea. For the existence of crocodiles still in the Zerka, see Macgregor’s Rob Roy on the Jordan, p. 387, who also found a crocodile in the Kishon, which is only about 20 miles north of the Zerka, pp. 400–403. “I suspect,” writes Dr Thomson, “that long ages ago, some Egyptians, accustomed to worship this ugly creature, settled here (Cæsarea), and brought their gods with them. Once here, they would not easily be exterminated; for no better place could be desired by them than this vast jungle and impracticable swamp.” See Land and the Book, p. 497.

Verse 26. - Reacheth. Literally, toucheth, i.e. skirteth, as in vers. 11 and 22. So in the next verse, with regard to Zebulun. The term appears to be the invariable one when a district, not a particular place, is spoken cf. To Carmel westward. The Carmel range appears to have been included in the tribe of Asher. For we read (Joshua 17:10, 11) that Asher met Manasseh on the north, whence we conclude that it must have cut off Issachar from the sea, and that as Dor was among the towns which Manasseh held within the territory of Issachar and Asher, it must therefore have been within the boundaries of the latter. Shihor-libnath. For Shihor see Joshua 13:3. Libnath, which signifies white or shining, has been supposed by some to mean the glassy river, from its calm, unbroken flow, though this appears improbable, since Shihor means turbid. It is far more probable that the current was rendered turbid by a quantity of chalk or limestone which it carried along in its course, and hence the name "muddy white." Keil thinks it to be the Nahr-el-Zerka, or crocodile river, of Pliny, in which Beland, Von Raumer, Knobel, and Rosenmuller agree with him. But when he proceeds to argue that this river, being blue, "might answer both to shihor, black, and libnath, white," he takes a flight in which it is impossible to follow him. Gesenius, from the glazed appearance of burnt brick or tiles (l'banah), conjectures,that it may be the Belus, or "glass river," so called, however, in ancient times because the fine sand on its banks enabled the manufacture of glass to be carried on here. But this, emptying itself into the sea near Acre, has been thought to be too far north. Vandevelde, however, one of the latest authorities, as well as Mr. Conder, is inclined to agree with Gesenius. The difficulty of this identification consists in the fact that Carmel and Dor (Joshua 17:11) are said to have been in Asher (see note on Joshua 17:10). The Nahr-el-Zerka has not been found by recent explorers to contain crocodiles, but it has been thought possible that they have hitherto eluded observation. Kenrick, however ('Phoenicia,' p. 24), thinks that as crocodilus originally meant a lizard, the lacertus Niloticus is meant, the river being, in his opinion, too shallow in summa to be the haunt of the crocodile proper (see also Tristram, 'Land of Israel.' p. 103, who believes it possible that the crocodile may be found there, though no specimen has as yet been produced). The Zerkais described in Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Paper, January, 1874, as "a torpid stream flowing through fetid marshes, in which reeds, canes, and the stunted papyrus grow." When it is added, "and where alone in Palestine the crocodile is found," no evidence is given in favour of the statement. It empties itself into the sea between Dor and Caesarea, a few miles north of the latter. Joshua 19:26Alammalech has been preserved, so far as the name is concerned, in the Wady Malek or Malik (Rob. Bibl. Res. p. 110), which runs into the Kishon, since in all probability the wady was named after a place either near it or within it. Amad is supposed by Knobel to be the present Haifa, about three hours to the south of Acre, on the sea, and this he identifies with the sycamore city mentioned by Strabo (xvi. 758), Ptolemy (v. 15, 5), and Pliny (h. n. v. 17), which was called Epha in the time of the Fathers (see Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 722ff.). In support of this he adduces the fact that the Hebrew name resembles the Arabic noun for sycamore-an argument the weakness of which does not need to be pointed out. Misheal was assigned to the Levites (Joshua 21:30, and 1 Chronicles 6:74, where it is called Mashal). According to the Onom. (s. v. Masan) it was on the sea-coast near to Carmel, which is in harmony with the next clause, "and reacheth to Carmel westwards, and to Shihor-libnath." Carmel (i.e., fruit-field), which has acquired celebrity from the history of Elijah (1 Kings 18:17.), is a wooded mountain ridge which stretches in a north-westerly direction on the southern side of the Kishon, and projects as a promontory into the sea. Its name, "fruit-field," is well chosen; for whilst the lower part is covered with laurels and olive trees, the upper abounds in figs and oaks, and the whole mountain is full of the most beautiful flowers. There are also many caves about it (vid., v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 43ff.; and Ritter, Erdk. xvi. pp. 705-6). The Shihor-libnath is not the Belus, or glass-river, in the neighbourhood of Acre, but is to be sought for on the south of Carmel, where Asher was bounded by Manasseh (Joshua 17:10), i.e., to the south of Dor, which the Manassites received in the territory of Asher (Joshua 17:11); it is therefore in all probability the Nahr Zerka, possibly the crocodile river of Pliny (Reland, Pal. p. 730), which is three hours to the south of Dor, and whose name (blue) might answer both to shihor (black) and libnath (white).
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